||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2014)|
|Also known as||Robert Dean|
|Born||23 April 1955|
|Origin||Clapton, Hackney, England|
|Genres||Glam rock, art rock, new wave, synthpop|
|Associated acts||Chanchos de Monte
Music Man guitar
Dean joined Japan in 1975 at the age of 20. The band began as an alternative glam rock style band to a popular new wave sensation in the early 1980s. Dean left the band in May 1981 following their 'Art of Parties' tour, as his guitar work had become increasingly surplus to requirements as they developed a more electronic sound.
He had previously played on their albums Adolescent Sex (1978), Obscure Alternatives (1978) and Quiet Life (1979). Dean's instruments of choice were a Gibson RD artist and a Gibson SG. His last studio contributions were on the Gentlemen Take Polaroids album, released in November 1980. Unfortunately, Dean left the band just prior to them achieving mainstream success which lasted until December 1982, when the band finally disintegrated.
Post-Japan he worked on some initial ideas for a solo album with keyboardist and composer Roger Mason (keyboard player for Gary Numan amongst others). He also played on Gary Numan's Dance album (1981) as well as Sinéad O'Connor's first record in 1986-87, The Lion and the Cobra (and co-wrote one of the songs). Dean continued to work on projects with Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri and Mick Karn such as a 1995 compilation album and a number of other works on their Medium Productions label.
His work with other artists has been relatively extensive:
Vivabeat (supported by Peter Gabriel) combined the influences of '70s British art-rock with the kind of lush, technopop characterised by Bowie, Roxy Music and Sparks. The band had a worldwide hit with the track ‘Man From China’ from their debut album, 'Party in the War Zone'. Dean played on the follow-up single, 'The House is Burning (but there's no one home)'. The 'House is Burning' song and video (also featuring Dean) appeared in Brian DePalma's movie 'Body Double'. In 2001 a 'best of' Vivabeat album, 'The Good Life' was released with Dean's work on several tracks.
Gary Numan and Dance
Dance Gary Numan (vocals), Rob Dean (guitar), Roger Mason (keyboards), Mick Karn (saxophone, bass), Paul Gardiner (guitar), Roger Taylor (drums), Cedric Sharpley (drums), Tim Steggles (percussion), Sean Lynch (programming). Dance was an ironic title for one of Gary Numan's latter-period recordings.
The Slow Club's World of Wonders
Rob Dean contributing to this Australian band (1990)
Jansen, Barbieri, Karn
Beginning to Melt This 1993 album features Rob Dean and ex-members of Japan.
Little has been heard of Rob Dean as a musician since. The occasional demo tapes from the eighties have surfaced for a range of projects (known as 'The Lost Tapes') where Dean experimented with electronica (with Roger Mason), his trademark guitar sounds and even acoustic tracks with vocals.
Dean's principal activity now is as a professional ornithology writer and artist on the birds of Central America. He lives in Monteverde, Costa Rica, and, now known as Robert Dean, has established a reputation as an expert on the region's birdlife. In 2007, Dean collaborated as illustrator on a bird study book (along with Richard Garrigues), entitled The Birds Of Costa Rica: A Field Guide. He has been reported as occasionally playing guitar with local bands including Monteverde's rock-band Chanchos de Monte fronted by Alan Masters.
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- Power, Martin. David Sylvian: The Last Romantic. Chapter 1: Dreaming Of Japan, High Places And Guitar Solos. Omnibus Press, 2004. ISBN 1-84449-587-6, ISBN 978-1-84449-587-0
- Ola's Kool Kitchen with interview of Robert Dean from Japan, from the Internet Archive
- "Story". vivaneat. Retrieved 7 September 2012.